Genoa Charter Yacht Show Review 2012

Overcast skies at the Genoa Charter Show

MYBA’s annual outing of Super Yachts on the charter circuit finishes today and it is clear from what went on, that the charter market is still showing signs of the squeeze even if there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Almost every broker is now being more truthful and realistic about the market, where in past few seasons, they have been somewhat overly optimistic to the point of being delusional.

While the show was well attended, many familiar brokers were not present. Where in the past firms sent posses of agents from the USA, this year they came in twos.  Many brokers chose not to stay the full five days, but then again, maybe that has always been the case and we had not noticed in the past.

Captains continued to bemoan the high cost of exhibiting their yachts to such a small audience. But they were equally freely admitting that, with so few charters available, it was only those who did attend such shows that stood a chance of finding work.  “The other yachts that are not here will be forgotten in a sea of also rans!” one Captain told us.

Avoiding the rain, a sign of the times?

The hard fact remains that there are now far too many boats chasing far too few charters.

The trade exhibition area was full with several stands displaying names new to the show while many previously attending exhibitors refused to set up shop to a diminished footfall.  Wether those new names appear again next year, only time will tell, but those that were there were also feeling the squeeze.

New rules dictate that while yachts closed for viewing at 5:30 pm all exhibition stands had to remain open for one hour after that.  Those that did not, risked a fine of 1000 euros the same amount they would be fined if they started to dismantle their stand before 6pm on Friday.  Needless to say, the well behaved northern European exhibitors followed instructions fearful of such draconian measures. Locally based operators simply shrugged and left when they wanted!  It will be interesting to learn if the Guardia Di Fronteria and others will be fined for shutting up early each day.

60s celebration aboard Kai

Fewer lunches, less extravagant yacht hop parties and only a scattering of organised events were all signals that times are still tough.  Clearly the charter industry is counting the cost of attendance at this and similar events and perhaps targeting their entertaining more carefully. 

The Mansueto Group as usual hosted a stand party each evening as the viewing of yachts ended.  As usual the company had clever wine glass holders, great food and a chance for people to relax and network.

Crews worked as hard as ever to keep yachts looking spectacular and for the first two days, heavy rain made the life of the deck crew tough. There was not a berth to spare and several yachts were on standby to attend because of this lack of space.  Boats on show other than those on the the prime real estate of Mollo Vecchio felt in second place but short of extending the main dock it is difficult to see how that can be changed in future years.

The Gala Dinner is actually drinks and a buffet.  Held for the fourth year at Villa Lo Zerbino, it came at the end of a rain soaked day which put off many from attending.  This was probably just as well as without being able to enjoy the lovely gardens it can be a squash inside the building – more feet weaving than networking.  An editor colleague was asked to pay 150 euros for a ticket to the event yet other press including ourselves were freely invited for which we publicly say to MYBA, thank you.

The sun came out for a least a couple of hours

So, successful show or not?  Only time will tell when signed charter contracts are returned. The only people that already know they have done well from the show are organisers Pesto.

Australian operators of Sea Safari the luxury catamaran took a punt in coming all the way from down under to attract broker attention and their investment paid off.  “It was a big investment in time and money,” said  Frank Grundy, “but it paid off big time because we signed up charters while we here,” he added.